What a topic! And clearly one that people are talking about…
A quick Google search offered me a range of “top communications challenges”, and after a brief scan, I condensed them into this short list, taking some liberties and poetic license.
- We think we’re communicating and we’re not.
- We believe we have buy-in and there’s zero engagement
- More is being shared, and we don’t recognize the saturation point
- No one wants to find a middle ground because the gap seems insurmountable
You and I both can add to the list…
Whatever the situation, there is a pathway that has led us to whether we are being clear, coherent, and connecting or disjointed, disharmonious and disconnected. And while it does “take two to tango”, there is only one over which you have control.
Recently, my writing coach, Betsy, made a comment that really connected: “Becoming the conversation”
For me that suggests being fully immersed, engaged, and attentive to the meaning of what’s being said and the choice of words best suited toward creating understanding.
We were talking about how the longer someone is on a job, the greater the chance you’ll hear we’ve always done it that way.
Both Betsy and I, in our separate worlds, have come across a similar challenge:
Communicating a different way of being or doing can make you less likely to be understood and your listener less likely to be open to hearing the full scope and potential of anything you’re saying.
And it got me thinking…What if both the speaker and the listener could focus on becoming the conversation?
Beyond the information being shared, becoming the conversation invites the speaker to think and feel the words being used in a way which creates emotional responses that encourage a desire to act.
Becoming the conversation for the listener invites openness, curiosity, and a willingness to not only hear, but to understand through the heart’s intelligence.
Many of us relate to Maya Angelou’s famous quote: At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.
Well, I’d like to add another, more cautionary quote by George Bernard Shaw: The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.
With that, I leave you with the following invitation: Using your whole self, focus on becoming the conversation:
Speak and listen with compassion and intention.